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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. GEORGE KOECK (01/20/87)

filed: January 20, 1987.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
GEORGE KOECK, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order entered in the Court of Common Pleas of Huntingdon County, Criminal Division, No. 85-178 (S) C.A.

COUNSEL

Helen P. Woolley, Huntingdon, for appellant.

Stewart Kurtz, Huntingdon, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Wickersham, Rowley and Tamilia, JJ. Rowley, J., dissents.

Author: Tamilia

[ 360 Pa. Super. Page 201]

This appeal arises from the dismissal of appellant's appeal to the Court of Common Pleas from a summary conviction for speeding. The appeal was dismissed upon motion of the Commonwealth due to failure of appellant to file his appeal within the requisite 30 days. Pa.R.Crim.P. 86(a).*fn1

The relevant facts are as follows: Due to his failure to appear at the district magistrate's hearing, appellant was found guilty of speeding on July 8, 1985. The 30th day of the appeal period was Wednesday, August 7, 1985. Unfortunately for appellant, the Huntingdon County prothonotary's office closes at noon on Wednesdays; consequently, he was unable to file the appeal that afternoon. Appellant argues that the County's practice of closing the prothonotary's office at noon on Wednesdays without any provisions for an officer of the court to remain available to accept papers for filing or to remain on call or even within the county was a breakdown in the court's operation. He also argues lack of prejudice to the Commonwealth in that the appeal was filed promptly on the 31st day and that because counsel was from out of town and unaware of the "closing early on Wednesday custom," he did not knowingly waive his constitutional right to appeal.

We agree with appellant and find that the appeal filed on the 31st day was timely because the prothonotary's office was closed for one-half of the 30th day.

The rules provide thirty (30) days, not twenty-nine and one-half (29 1/2) days, in which to appeal to the Common Pleas Court from the judgment of sentence of a district justice in a motor vehicle speeding case.

The Rules of Construction concerning computation of time, 1 Pa.C.S.A. § 1908, read:

[ 360 Pa. Super. Page 202]

    court, which can and should require it to be open to the public at all appropriate times for the receipt and filing of legal documents and to exercise the power and authority as an ...


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